-7 F. low Tuesday morning in the Twin Cities.
3 F. “high” at KMSP yesterday.
23 F. average high on January 12.
5 F. high on January 12, 2015.
January 13, 1916: The high temperature in the Twin Cities only reaches a frigid -14 degrees.
Pioneer Cold: 72 Consecutive Subzero Hours Starting Saturday
Winter came late this year – now it’s coming all at once. From a lukewarm massage to a cold slap across the face.
The atmosphere is a complex jumble, and proving cause and effect is fraught with peril. Emerging science suggests a rapidly warming arctic is slowing jet stream winds, creating a wavier “amplified” pattern, one more prone to weather getting “stuck” for extended periods of time.
The jury is out, but there’s little doubt a dollop of polar pain is on the way for the weekend.
Temperatures and wind chill values will be colder than what we just muddled through. We may not rise above 0F for 72 straight hours, from Saturday morning through Tuesday morning. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 20-below air temperature in outlying suburbs Monday morning. Pioneer cold.
Part of me is reassured it can still get this cold. A very small part. Models still show moderation by the last week of January, when feeling should return to your extremities.
Snow? Maybe a coating Thursday as the next Siberian Treat approaches.
Time to dig out extra layers, and daydream about spring break.
Dipping Into The Danger Zone. Never (ever) tell a Minnesotan not to go outside, but only the brave and foolish will be spending extended periods of time outside. A windchill of 0F is no big deal (if you’re active and properly dressed). But -35 to -45F? That’s a different beast. The map above shows predicted wind chill values at 7 AM Sunday, in the -35F range in the metro, as cold as -45F from Willmar to Mankato to Albert Lea. Even the veterans will be griping this weekend. ECMWF solution: WeatherBell.
Coldest Air Temperature. It’s a toss-up between Sunday or Monday morning, but under clear skies with diminishing winds temperatures may drop a few degrees early Monday as the center of arctic high pressure slides to our south, setting the stage for some -20F air temperatures in the outlying suburbs. The urban heat island will keep the immediate metro about 5 degrees warmer. Map valid 12z Monday.
A Sharp, Concentrated Arctic Smack. After mellowing to near freezing Thursday the big slide starts Friday; by Saturday there will be no doubt in your mind that mid-January is, historically, the coldest time of the year. In fact the mercury may stay below zero, even in the (milder) metro area, from late Friday night into Tuesday morning, before rebounding near freezing again the middle of next week. Map: WeatherSpark.
Couple Inches Up North? The approach of the next bitter blast will squeeze out some light snow Thursday into early Friday; the best chance of 1-3″ from Detroit Lakes to Brainerd and Duluth. Source: NOAA NAM.
Not Exactly a Storm. Our internal guidance sent out an alert for a whopping 1.1″ of snow in the Brainerd Lakes area by 4 PM Friday. You’ve been warned. Source: Aeris Enterprise.
West Coast Soaking. El Nino-fueled storms sweep in off the Pacific in the coming days, NOAA guidance hinting at close to a foot of precipitation over far northern California. The threat of avalanches, mudslides and flooding will be high from the Bay Area northward to Portland and Seattle into next week.
10-Day Snowfall Potential. Here is the NOAA GFS accumulated snowfall product, showing serious lake effect snows and a new, healthy pile for the western mountains, but fairly light amounts for the Upper Midwest into late next week. Source: AerisWeather.
February Preview. Most NOAA climate models show a warm bias returning next month, with the warmest temperature anomalies over central and eastern Canada and the northern tier of the USA. Temperature anomalies averaged over all of February in celsius. Map: WeatherBell.
Spring Break? We’ll see if the long-range models are on the right track, but the same CFSv2 (Climate Forecast System) model shows a warmer bias for Canada and the northern USA into March as the El Nino signal lingers, slowly fading by late spring or early summer.
Is Light Snow More Dangerous for Drivers Than Major Snowstorms? Light snow at a bitterly cold temperature is far more dangerous than heavy snow at 25-32F, there’s little question about that. Here’s a clip from The Weather Channel: “…There seems to be a critical time of accumulations first occurring on untreated roads with some drivers not yet realizing the roads have become slick, maintaining their near-normal speeds until a slideoff or wreck occurs,” said weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman. From 2004 to 2013, nearly a quarter of all traffic crashes in the U.S. were caused by weather, according to 10-year averages released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of those, 17 percent occurred during snow or sleet, 13 percent on icy pavement and 14 percent on snowy or slushy pavement...”
Photo credit: “A pileup involving as many as 50 vehicles shut down part of U.S. Highway 131 near Grand Rapids, Michigan last December after small snow event.” (Courtesy of Fox 17)
CASA Radar Credited With Saving Lives and Avoiding Injuries During Texas Tornadoes. I found this interesting nugget at the University of Massachusetts Amhert’s College of Engineering: “Officials in Ellis County, Texas, are crediting the recently installed radar system created by our Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) with being at least partially responsible for saving lives and greatly reducing injuries during the very dangerous tornado that touched down in the Ellis County town of Midlothian, south of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, during the December 26 Tornado outbreak. As Ellis County Judge Carol Bush said at a press conference immediately following the tornado, “With the CASA radar system in the Midlothian area, it gives a lot of advanced notice, and we were able to communicate that to the community. And I think that has really assisted in seeing a decrease in injuries…”
Image credit: phys.org, which has more details on the emerging CASA radar network.
Don’t Blame All These Rains and Floods on El Nino. It’s a complicated jumble of factors, argues a story at WIRED; here’s an excerpt: “…El Niño is not weather. Weather is short-term stuff: hurricanes, rainstorms, droughts. El Niño is none of those things, but it influences them all. By the numbers, the phenomena is pretty boring: warmer than average surface ocean temperatures in the normally cool Eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. That warm water makes the normally dry air humid. Result: huge rainstorms and rapidly rising air that ripples around the world. “It’s like dropping a rock in a pond,” says Martin Hoerling, research meteorologist for NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder. As those ripples spread towards the poles and eastward (because of Earth’s rotation), they cause the jet stream to undulate. So low pressure systems form in weird places...” (Image credit: NASA JPL).
A Rapidly Melting Arctic Is Having an Impact on Global Weather. Something we’ve been highlighting for a few years now. Everything is interconnected and changes in the arctic appear to be contributing to more volatility and unpredictability in weather at lower latitudes; here’s an excerpt from Alternet: “…As Arctic Matters reports, “Changes in the Arctic have the potential to affect weather thousands of miles away. Because temperatures are increasing faster in the Arctic than at the tropics, the temperature gradient that drives the jet stream is becoming less intense.” This causes the jet stream to weaken and shift away from its typical patterns, which then leads to weather patterns becoming more persistent and lasting longer in the mid-latitudes. This then results in longer droughts, more intense heat waves, and far longer and deeper cold snaps, such as those witnessed in the Northeastern United States and Europe during the last two winters…” (Image credit: Climate Reanalyzer).
Winter Surprise: Rare Tropical Cyclones Form in January. It’s a mixed-up weather map, and “Pali” may be the earliest tropical storm to form in the central Pacific. Here’s an excerpt from WXshift: “…The official hurricane season for both the Atlantic and the central and northeastern Pacific basins ends on Nov. 30. Historically, there is very little activity after this period because of cooling ocean waters and unfavorable atmospheric conditions. Only three have ever been recorded in the central Pacific in the January to March timeframe. But storms can, and have, formed in the traditional off-season when the right factors come together to give them a push. Tropical Storm Pali formed on Jan. 7 way out in the middle of the Pacific, more than 1,000 miles southwest of Hawaii (so it is not a threat to anyone on land). The timing of its formation wasn’t the only thing notable about it: It also formed unusually close to the equator, just south of the 5 degree latitude mark. It is the southernmost storm ever to form in that region...”
Image credit: earth.nullschool.net.
Signs of the “Human Age”. Welcome to a new world; a little used and frayed around the edges. Here’s the intro to a New York Times story: “Welcome to the “Anthropocene” — a new epoch in our planet’s 4.5 billion year history. Thanks to the colossal changes humans have made since the mid-20th century, Earth has now entered a distinct age from the Holocene epoch, which started 11,700 years ago as the ice age thawed. That’s according to an argument made by a team of scientists from the Anthropocene Working Group. Scientists say an epoch ends following an event – like the asteroid that demolished the dinosaurs and ended the late Cretaceous Epoch 66 million years ago – that altered the underlying rock and sedimentary layers so significantly that its remnants can be observed across the globe…”
Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. —now expect the price of oil to crash through the $30 threshold and into $20 territory in short order as a result of China’s slowdown, the U.S. dollar’s appreciation and the fact that drillers from Houston to Riyadh won’t quit pumping despite the oil glut…”Crude-oil prices plunged more than 5% on Monday to trade near $30 a barrel, making the specter of bankruptcy ever more likely for a significant chunk of the U.S. oil industry. Three major investment banks—
Photo credit above: “Photo: Bloomberg News.
Is The Post-Fossil Fuel Era Now Inevitable? Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Huffington Post: “Ambassador Laurence Tubiana, France’s point person for COP21, wisely explained a year ago that Paris will be judged a success if it leads to the conclusion that the shift to the post-fossil fuel era is inevitable. That feeling of inevitability, she reasoned, will underpin the massive shift of trillions of dollars required to pay for the low carbon transition. The positive conclusion of the Paris conference on December 12, coupled with the enormous array of commitments made before, during, and after the COP, indicates that a massive systemic change is afoot...”
Why The Future of Wind Energy Lies Offshore. Here’s a link to a video and story excerpt at Popular Science: “Wind turbines are a great way to produce clean energy, but not everybody wants a giant windmill in the backyard. The obvious solution? Send the turbines out to sea and create offshore wind farms. This plan moves wind farms away from populated areas, and, because wind blows more steadily over the sea, allows the seafaring turbines to be several times larger than grounded ones…”
How GM Beat Tesla to the First True, Mass-Market Electric Car. 30K is the sweet spot, especially if it can go 200-300 miles on a charge. Here’s an excerpt of an encouraging story at WIRED: “…General Motors first unveiled the Chevy Bolt as a concept car in January 2015, billing it as a vehicle that would offer 200 miles of range for just $30,000 (after a $7,500 federal tax credit). Barring any unforeseen delays, the first Bolts will roll off the production line at GM’s Orion Assembly facility in Michigan by the end of 2016. As Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electric vehicles, recently put it to me with a confident grin: “Who wants to be second?” For GM, the Bolt stands to offer a head start in a new kind of market for electric cars. But for the rest of us, there’s a broader significance to this news...”
Meet You At The Dinosaur Dance? It turns out dinosaurs danced to attract a mate. Who knew? Here’s an excerpt from The Guardian: “Predatory dinosaurs performed a ritual, bird-like dance to woo their mates, according to paleontologists who have studied huge scrape marks left behind by the animals in western Colorado. Paleobiologists have long speculated that dinosaurs had mating rituals like those of their descendants, modern birds, but the scrapes would be the first physical evidence of “dinosaur foreplay”, lead scientist Martin Lockley said...”
Image credit above: “This illustration shows theropods engaged in scrape ceremony display activity, based on trace fossil evidence from Colorado.” Photograph: Lida Xing/AP.
TODAY: Clouds, few flurries. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 17
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Overcast with flurries off and on. Low: 15
THURSDAY: Light snow late, coating to 1″ possible. Winds: SE 8-13. High: near 30
FRIDAY: Flurries taper, winds increase. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 21. High: 25 (falling)
SATURDAY: Polar fun, feels like -20F. Winds: NW 10-15+ Wake-up: -3. High: -1
SUNDAY: Dangerously cold. Feels like -30F. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: -15. High: -4
MONDAY: Arctic sunshine, winds ease a bit. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: -17. High: -2
TUESDAY: Clouds increase, not as harsh. Wake-up: -10. High: near 20
* Photo credit: Star Tribune.
Still Time to Register for The Third Annual Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference. A reminder that the Third Annual Statewide Climate Adaptation Conference will be held on January 28, 2016 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in north Minneapolis. This year’s conference is designed for local officials, planners, engineers, natural resource practitioners and others who want to learn more about adaptation strategies that have worked or are being tested in various sectors of our community infrastructure including tribal communities, energy industry, local foods, emergency management, communication (media) and water resources. We will learn from several major corporations how they are addressing climate adaptation at the morning plenary session and will have a mayor’s panel at lunch to hear from several community decision makers. New this year is a tools cafe, where you can learn about various tools that are available to communities, as well as a poster session in the afternoon.
I’m looking forward to facilitating a discussion with Minnesota business leaders on how resilience, sustainability and innovation can turn a potential negative into a positive, for shareholders, investors and all Minnesotans as we transition to a clean-energy economy while preserving the Minnesota we’ve come to know and love for our kids and future generations.
From protecting precious water resources to the growing impact on Minnesota’s agricultural economy to tribal preparation to communication challenges and emergency management, there’s something at this conference for everyone. Attached you’ll find the draft agenda, which hopefully will assist you in making your decision to attend. Please follow this link to register for the conference!
Millennial Voters Want a President Who Supports Energy, Climate Goals. Climate Nexus reports: “Millennials, ages 18-34, make up the biggest demographic group in the US and rank climate change and renewable energy among their top priorities for the next president, according to a new poll. By an overwhelming majority of 80 percent, versus just 10 percent, those surveyed say the US should transition to mostly renewable energy by 2030. They also support government investment in public transportation and other climate change measures…”
Republicans Might Actually Be Willing To Do Something About Climate Change. Here’s a snippet of an interesting Washington Post story: “…At this make-or-break moment for curbing emissions, we need to accept an inconvenient truth: It’s impossible to solve the climate crisis without winning conservatives to the cause. Believe it or not, this shouldn’t be reason for despair. There’s evidence that conservative views on climate are evolving. According to a recent poll commissioned by a top GOP donor and conducted by three respected Republican pollsters, a majority of Republicans — including 54 percent of self-identified conservatives — not only believe in human-induced climate change but would support a carbon tax if the money were rebated or paired with an accompanying tax cut...”
Photo credit above: “
palm oil plantations to the lobby groups seeking to undermine government action on climate change. Some argue that climate change leaders should join forces with fossil fuel companies to put a price on carbon. According to Hunter Lovins and Felix Kramer, for example: “Fossil fuel companies receive $5.3tn [£3.6tn) in worldwide subsidies every year – that’s $10m a minute – exceeding global spending on health. Pricing carbon fuels to reflect their true social and environmental impacts will help to speed up the transition to renewable energy and more energy efficient living standards...”
America’s Food System Could Be More Vulnerable to Climate Change Than We Thought. Increased whiplash (back and forth from extreme drought to extreme flood) and monoculture practices are a volatile combination. Here’s an excerpt from Mother Jones: “…Ramankutty said it’s not yet clear why droughts and heat waves tend to hit yields in the United States, Europe, and Australia harder than those in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But he suspects it relates to how farmers set their priorities. In developed countries, the emphasis is often on maximizing profit with big monoculture farms that work great in good climates but get trashed when the weather turns sour. Farmers in developing countries, by contrast, may prioritize minimizing their risk, taking a smaller yield in exchange for better resilience. Of course, these findings don’t mean developing countries are out of harm’s way. They still face major challenges from climate change, since comparatively small yield losses can have an outsized impact on local economies and food security…”
Giant Icebergs Fertilize the Ocean, Sucking Carbon – Study. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting story at Climate Home: “Icebergs that break off Antarctica could account for twice as much carbon dioxide stored in the Southern Ocean than previously believed, a study on Monday suggested. The drifting blocks the size of Manhattan sustain far greater amounts of phytoplankton – which remove CO2 through photosynthesis – in their trail as they melt, satellite imagery revealed…”
Photo credit above: “Icebergs in Patagonia, Argentina. Geographers measured icebergs at least 18 km in length through 175 satellite images taken between 2003-13.” (Flickr/ Denisbin).
Fracking is a Bridge to Nowhere. Earthquakes, uncontrollable methane releases are a few potential hazards of the trade; here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Chronicle Journal: “…What could go wrong? Well, according to a study published last summer in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, natural gas gathering facilities, which collect gas from multiple wells, lose approximately 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas every year. Which is about eight times more than the estimates relied on by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Which is bad. But not Congress bad. On Dec. 18, the U.S. Congress voted to lift the 40-year-old ban on oil exports as part of an omnibus budget bill. According to the Economist magazine’s analysis, this move will likely give the fracking industry a fillip, increasing the market for the light, sweet crude pumped out of America’s shale deposits...” (Image credit: Huffington Post).
Carbon Capture a Justified “$1 Billion Bet” Given Possible Returns. Someone, somewhere is going to figure this out. Here’s an excerpt from Carbon Home: “Carbon capture and storage (CCS) may have become a gamble for austerity-pressed economies but don’t walk away now, a British academic has said. The fledgling technology that sucks CO2 from industrial plants is indispensable if countries are serious about preventing catastrophic global warming, the University of Cambridge’s David Reiner wrote in journal Nature Energy on Monday. Without it, the cost of tackling global warming will double says the UN climate science panel…”
Photo credit above: “Delegates inspecting a model of a CCS plant at a Saudi Arabia forum in November 2015. Large-scale projects have doubled on a decade earlier, with 15 running last year, according to the Global CCS Institute.” (credit: IISD.ca).
Climate Change Means More Fear, Less Fun for Global Middle Class. Thomson Reuters has a summary of a new study; here’s a clip: “…The report said middle-class households are already changing their lifestyles in the cities most exposed to hotter temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather such as storms and floods. “More fear, less fun is how we might sum it up,” said the study. In places with high risks of climate-related shocks, people spend more on the upkeep of their properties. And homes may decrease in value if certain places become less appealing to live, eating into wealth, the report said. Efforts to adapt to changing climate conditions – which remain modest and sporadic among the middle class – can also bring new costs...”
Photo credit above: “A family wades through a residential area flooded by the Kinugawa river, due to typhoon Etau, in Joso, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan, Sept. 10, 2015. “REUTERS/Issei Kato.
Global Warming Threatens the Backyard Rink. If nothing else the outdoor skating season will be shortened – in fact it already is. Here’s an excerpt from CBC News: “A Canadian tradition, the backyard rink, may be in trouble in the coming years in much of the country, including P.E.I. That’s the conclusion of a group of geographers at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, which has been studying ice conditions in rinks since 2012. They’re the founders of Rink Watch, a website that allows people to pin their rinks on a map, and then update ice conditions all winter. They’ve just crunched the first two years of data, along with global climate models, and they say the number of skating days will drop by 20 to 30 per cent in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary by the end of the century...”
Photo credit above: “Volunteers send in ice conditions from backyard rinks across the country to Rink Watch.” (Submitted by Donna Cassell).
- Microwaves do not measure the temperature of the surface, where we live. They measure the warm glow from different layers of the atmosphere.
- The claim that microwave temperature estimates are more accurate is backed by many arguments but no data...”
Pope Inspires Clergy to Join Environmental Movement. Stewardship, Creation Care, taking responsibility for our actions and dealing with the symptoms of “free will” are all relevant to people of faith; here’s an excerpt from The Buffalo News: “Look at any environmental gathering in the Buffalo Niagara region, and you’ll see the usuals: the bird-watchers, hikers, pollution fighters, neighborhood activists and even the granola-eating tree-huggers. But now others show up in greater numbers, too. You can thank God for that. Or Yahweh. Even Allah or the Great Spirit. Environmentalists are making room for priests, nuns, rabbis, imams and others of faith who care about the environment and want to play a role in protecting our water, air and land...”
How Climate Change Became a Civil Rights Issue. Here’s a clip from The Des Moines Register: “…The potential health consequences of climate change are outlined in a sobering 2014 National Climate Assessment Report produced by The U.S. Global Change Research Program. The report attributes dramatic increases in deaths in some major U.S. cities to heat waves causing strokes, cardiovascular, respiratory and kidney diseases. It predicts these will increase, and especially harm children and older adults. Poor people are at greater risk of diminished lung functioning from smog and air pollution resulting from ground level ozone concentrations that can be kicked up by wild fires. Floods move contaminated water and disease-carrying insects. And a rise in food prices due to bad weather or shortages falls hardest on the low-income…”
The Climate Change Book the GOP Needs To Read. Here’s an excerpt from The Daily Beast: “…The reluctance of the American right to take action against climate change in the face of such overwhelming evidence over so many years will be questioned frequently by historians. The data hasn’t always been as voluminous as it is now, of course, but it’s existed for decades. Romm cites studies from as far back as the mid-’70s warning of the dangers of carbon emissions and global warming. ExxonMobil, as we learned recently, became aware of the hazards of carbon emissions in 1977, yet they funded climate denial until just a few years ago. Charles and David Koch, of Koch Industries, meanwhile, continue to spread misinformation, and they have pledged almost $1 billion to influence the 2016 presidential contest. When I interviewed Romm in 2010, he asserted that the key figures pushing climate denial will be judged very harshly by history, “in the category of Neville Chamberlain or people who were shills for the tobacco industry…”